Elsewhere, Christian Bale’s ‘Hostiles’ rides into the top five after expanding nationwide, while overseas, ‘Maze Runner’ wows with $62.6 million.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure sprinted to the top of box office in its domestic debut over the weekend, unseating Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with $23.5 million from 3,787 theaters.
The final installment in 20th Century Fox’s dystopian YA film franchise is doing sensational business overseas. It grossed $62.6 million for the weekend from 58 markets for an early foreign total of $82 million and $105.5 million globally, including a $21.6 million China launch.
The Death Cure was originally set to hit theaters a year ago, but its release was delayed when franchise star Dylan O’Brien was injured while filming. Wes Ball directed all three films, the last of which, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, launched to $30.6 million in September 2015. The first outing, The Maze Runner, opened to $32.5 million in September 2014.
This time out, the Gladers travel to the villainous WCKD headquarters to rescue their friends. Nearly 60 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle — which had stayed atop the chart the previous three weekends — was hardly a slouch, grossing $16.4 million from 3,553 locations in its sixth outing for a domestic total of $338 million. Globally, the reboot has hit $822 million to become the fifth-biggest film in Sony’s history, not accounting for inflation.
Elsewhere, Scott Cooper’s gritty Western Hostiles, starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike, rode into 2,813 theaters across the country after playing in select cinemas since Christmas. The indie film, which placed No. 3, grossed an estimated $10.2 million for an early total of $12.1 million.
The Greatest Showman remained a force in its sixth weekend, dropping just 11 percent to $9.5 million for a domestic tally of $126.5 million for Fox and Chernin Entertainment. Overseas, Showman has grossed $133 million for a worldwide tally of $259.6 million.
While Hostiles was shut out of the Oscar race, a flurry of films picking up best picture nominations last week enjoyed a boost at the box office, led by Steven Spielberg’s The Post (20th Century Fox) and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight), which earned a total of 13 noms, the most of any movie.
The Post came in No. 4 in its third weekend in wide release with $8.9 million from 2,640 theaters for a domestic cume of $58.5 million. The Pentagon Papers drama, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, fell 24 percent, compared to nearly 40 percent last weekend.
Shape of Water, which had been rolling out slowly, upped its theater count to 1,851, an uptick of more than 800 cinemas. The adult fairy tale took in $5.7 million, by far its strongest weekend to date (it was up 160 percent). Shape of Water has grossed $37.7 million domestically and $13.9 million from its first 10 markets for a total $51.6 million.
Other best picture nominees seeing a boost included Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight). The film earned $3.6 million for a North America total of $37 million to date and $71.3 million globally. Phantom Thread and Darkest Hour, both from Focus Features, each earned $2.9 million, followed by Call Me by Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics) with $1.3 million.
I, Tonya may not have landed a best picture nod, but other top noms gave the Tonya Harding drama a boost. I, Tonya, starring Oscar nominee Margot Robbie, earned $3 million from 960 theaters for a total $18.8 million. A24 is releasing the movie in the U.S., while Sierra/Affinity has international duties. I, Tonya debuted at No. 1 in Australia — Robbie’s home country — over the weekend with a strong $1.8 million.